Evening Bags – Then and Now

Evening Bags – A Brief History in Time…

Handbags in general, have a surprisingly long history going all the way back to the 13th and 14th Century basically consisting of a pouch called girdles to carry coins or flint used by men. By the 15th Century women had joined men now using pouches to carry around their wealth and in addition jewellery and now fastened to their outfits by more elaborate means such as tassels.

During the 18th Century the evening bag in a more recognised form began to take shape. Initially as small decorated bags hanging from the waist or wrist large enough to carry essential toilet items such as smelling salts, fans and calling cards either, beaded, embroidered, or tasselled, generally very decorative. Fashion dictated whether this bag should match or class with the wearer’s outfit.

By the 19th Century the evening bag had evolved and grown larger to accommodate makeup, gloves and opera glasses. Bags were mainly handcrafted at home and as such, the more ornate the bag was the more wealthy the woman was as she had time, skills and money to spend creating it. Tiny beads were popular and used to create beautiful outdoor and romantic scenes.

During the 20th Century industrialisation saw evening bags become mass produced and the different styles that we see today emerged. The 1930s and 1940s saw the development of the clutch bag which is still popular today.

Styles of Bag

Your evening bag needs to not only look fantastic but provide enough room for your essentials without bursting at the seams. Over the years evening bags have generally got smaller so if you’re not a purse and credit card woman make sure you can fit in those extra bits and pieces.

From all those years of history there are several popular types of evening bag that have emerged and they include the purse with a clasp – generally small. This category could also include the clutch bag which will have a clasp or flap. Most clutch bags don’t usually have vents with extra room so again fitting into the small category, but will work well with all evening wear. Drawstring bags would fall into the medium category with extra hidden storage and generally very pretty. Evening handbags, shoulder bags or across the body bags look good with fitted evening wear but are generally more forgiving with space.

Finally, Colours….

Evening wear and bags are a chance to shine in the night. If you are wearing that classic black number why not contrast it with a striking red, gold or copper evening bag and wrap. Silver evening accessories look great with mauve, pink or purple and black or white evening accessories work well with silver black or white.

Source by Carol-Ann Meader

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